MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 3,924 this week

The Dance of Life (1929)

7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 186 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 2 critic

A vaudeville comic and a pretty young dancer aren't having much luck in their separate careers, so they decide to combine their acts. In order to save money on the road, they get married. ... See full summary »

Writers:

(screenplay), (play), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 54 titles
created 13 Oct 2012
 
a list of 76 titles
created 21 Dec 2012
 
a list of 136 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 10 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Dance of Life (1929)

The Dance of Life (1929) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Dance of Life.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sin Sister (1929)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A story of hardships in Alaska in which the true characters of five people are brought out when they are subjected to one problem or another. Some pass the tests and some don't.

Director: Charles Klein
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Lawrence Gray, Josephine Dunn
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Fredric March, Margaret Sullavan, Frances Dee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
Director: Paul L. Stein
Stars: Ann Harding, Harry Bannister, John Loder
Comedy | Musical | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Underworld king Lee Lother has been killed aboard a ocean liner, several people could have been the murderer. There is his mistress Anya Roysen, a married woman, who was jealous of his ... See full summary »

Director: Benjamin Stoloff
Stars: Gene Raymond, Nancy Carroll, Jack Benny
Stolen Heaven (1931)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: George Abbott
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes, Louis Calhern
Honey (1930)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Harry Green, Lillian Roth
Sweetie (1929)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Helen Kane, Stanley Smith
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A ruthless stockbroker sells short in the copper business and ruins the life of his friends by ruining their finances.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: George Bancroft, Olga Baclanova, Nancy Carroll
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Phillips Holmes, James Kirkwood
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Heyst, a hermit on his own tropical island, plays unwilling host to red-headed stowaway Alma. Danger looms...

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Nancy Carroll, Richard Arlen, Warner Oland
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Joe and Casey trouble-shoot for the phone company. They try to prove that Joes's girl Ethel's boss Dan is a crook but are trapped by criminals and left in a burning building.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Jack Oakie, Constance Cummings
Dance Hall (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A dance trophy winning young couple is temporarily split up when a playboy aviator leads the girl to believe he's in love with her.

Director: Melville W. Brown
Stars: Olive Borden, Arthur Lake, Margaret Seddon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hal Skelly ...
...
Bonny Lee King
Dorothy Revier ...
Sylvia Marco
Ralph Theodore ...
Harvey Howell (as Ralph Theadore)
Charles D. Brown ...
Lefty Miller
...
Bozo
May Boley ...
Gussie
...
Jerry Evans
Gladys DuBois ...
Miss Sherman
James Quinn ...
Jimmy
Jim Farley ...
Champ Melvin
...
Minister
Gordona Bennet ...
Amazon Chorus Girl
Miss La Reno ...
Amazon Chorus Girl
Cora Beach Shumway ...
Amazon Chorus Girl
Edit

Storyline

A vaudeville comic and a pretty young dancer aren't having much luck in their separate careers, so they decide to combine their acts. In order to save money on the road, they get married. Soon their act begins to catch on, and they find themselves booked onto Broadway. They also realize that they actually are in love with each other, but just when things are starting to look up, the comic starts to let success go to his head. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

theater | based on play | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Burlesque  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Color:

(Technicolor) (reel 7)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Barbara Stanwyck had played Bonny King on stage (under her original name, Ruby Stephens) and tested for the film, but Paramount decided to use Nancy Carroll because she, unlike Stanwyck, had already made films and therefore had a movie "name". See more »

Connections

Version of When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Mightiest Matador
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Sam Coslow and Leo Robin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Excellent vaudeville drama
2 April 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'The Dance of Life' (1929) is the film version of a hit Broadway play called 'Burlesque', which starred Barbara Stanwyck. The original title was considered too racy for movie audiences, so the film producers bought the rights to a best-selling NON-fiction book about sex, 'The Dance of Life', just so they could use the book's title for this movie based on 'Burlesque'.

Skid Johnson is a baggy-pants comedian who can't make it on the vaudeville circuit. He meets Bonny Lee, a bright young dancer who is pretty and talented but who just can't catch a break. Stranded in a train station between vaudeville bookings, the two decide to team up and try a new act together. To save money, they get married: if they travel the vaudeville circuit with a marriage license to prove they're husband and wife, they can share a single hotel room. As their act gets better, Skid and Bonny get bookings which bring them closer to Broadway, and soon they are genuinely in love with each other. But, just when stardom is within their grasp, Skid gets a big head. And then the trouble starts...

'The Dance of Life' is a fascinating early talkie. Nancy Carroll (in the Stanwyck role) is an excellent actress and a fine dancer. Dramatic actor Hal Skelly had difficulty getting roles because of his clownish face; in this film, he puts his unusual appearance to good tragicomic advantage as a comedian who encounters problems in his offstage life. Skelly does a funny skidding dance which probably explains his character's nickname.

Oscar Levant had a small role in the Broadway cast of 'Burlesque', in a party scene which gave him a chance to play the piano and make a few wisecracks. He makes his film debut in 'The Dance of Life', repeating his Broadway role ... but the screenplay cuts Levant's role to a mere walk-on, giving him no opportunities to play the piano or crack any jokes. Don't expect any of those great Levant witticisms.

I was excited to see Al Saint John's name in this film's cast list, in the role of Skid Johnson's slapstick comedy sidekick Bozo. Al Saint John was one of the great acrobatic comedians of the silent screen, working prominently with his uncle Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle and with Buster Keaton. Seeing him cast as a comedian in this dramatic backstage story, I expected St John to do some of his brilliant acrobatic pratfalls in 'The Dance of Life'. Unfortunately, we never see Bozo doing any of his act onstage, so St John's comedic talents are wasted in this film. But he handles the dramatic aspects of his supporting role very well.

Some of the dialogue in 'The Dance of Life' was considered quite racy at the time, but it will seem very tame now. Like this example:

GIRL: You wouldn't kid me, would you, mister?

BOY: I would if I could, sister, I would if I could.

In 1929, that was pretty close to a dirty joke. I recommend 'The Dance of Life' as a fascinating example of early talking pictures


16 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is this film now in the public domain? calvinnme
Oscar Levant, where are you? theglasscharacter
Discuss The Dance of Life (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?